Three Dr. Berensons: Marc, his aunt Jennifer, and his beloved grandfather

Three Dr. Berensons: Marc, his aunt Jennifer who is a professor at Roanoke College, and his beloved grandfather Murray Berenson

The busy Dr. Berenson finds some time to enjoy the Pride Parade in New York City.

We talked to Marc Berenson on July 26, 2019 about his path to medical school and residency.  While he’d long been fascinated by medicine, Marc hadn’t exactly been ready for college his first time around, and eventually left to become a paramedic. After 15 years he decided to return to college and aim for medical school.  Two semesters and two summer sessions later, Marc graduated with a sociology degree and was accepted into the medical school at Rutgers University, where he earned an MD in 2019.  Now he’s a first-year resident in Emergency Medicine at Rutgers.

In talking to Marc, the theme of making a difference in people’s lives was ever-present and the precipitating factor in his decision came from seeing his grandfather, a retired gastroenterologist, at his eightieth birthday, surrounded by former patients who spoke of how he had helped them.  Marc was touched and inspired.  Now he’s helping and supporting patients himself.

Marc identified several aspects of the liberal arts nature of Roanoke College as being helpful: first, the support and occasional push from the “phenomenal” faculty, such as Dr. Poli’s insistence that he gain some shadowing experience and Dr. Sarisky’s honor symposium on medical evidence.  Also, the critical thinking skills that he developed in various classes served him in very good stead in medical school in terms of understanding and remembering material.   Other useful decisions: while taking Organic Chemistry over the summer was, well, painful, it allowed him to hone in on the material without distractions and he found Cell Biology particularly useful.

Marc’s advice on applying to and surviving medical school: Be flexible and “expect the unexpected” as there will be many challenges of many kinds; be ready and willing to reward yourself and to remind yourself that you’re here because the faculty believe that you can do it.  That was particularly important, Marc noted, given that the amount of information in the first year of medical school is staggering: “like swallowing Niagara Falls” and it’s pretty easy to feel overwhelmed.

Best wishes and congratulations to DR. Marc Berenson on getting his MD and in his residency!